Six scams people still fall for

Six scams people still fall for

You may think a scam is easy to spot. But these scams caused more than $3 billion in financial losses just last year. Here’s how to avoid them.
November 24, 2021

Six scams people still fall for

Six scams people still fall for

You may think a scam is easy to spot. But these scams caused more than $3 billion in financial losses just last year. Here’s how to avoid them.
November 24, 2021

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These days, protecting your private information from prying eyes has become an increasingly difficult task. For most people, it’s not something that’s always top of mind. But, everyone knows how to spot a scam, right? Wrong. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there were more than 2.2 million reports of fraud in 2020, with more than $3.3 billion lost nationwide.

To help, we’ve identified some of the most common types of scams people still fall for and compiled resources to help you keep your information safe.

Phishing
Criminals use phishing messages to pose as senders you trust to gain access to your personal information. These emails can appear with a detailed description or be displayed as a receiving error, requiring the recipient to click on a link to view the message. They can also appear as a false invoice or confirmation of a purchasing contract that requires recipients to review an unfamiliar document. Click here to learn more about how to spot a potential phishing scam.

Malware and ransomware
Clicking on suspicious links found in phishing scams and downloading files off the internet can lead to the installation of malicious software on your computer. Cybercriminals often use this software to steal passwords, corrupt devices, and gather personal information. To keep yourself safe, never click on unfamiliar attachments or links from suspicious emails. You should also install official and trusted firewall and antivirus software on your computer, which acts as a buffer against malicious attacks.

Social media scams
You’ve heard of catfishing, but did you know that scammers can duplicate your social media profile? They use these fake accounts to message your family and friends to ask for money, collect information, or send links that download malware to their devices. Learn how to spot a social media scammer here.

Vishing
Voice phishing, or vishing, occurs when scammers create fake caller IDs to trick you into providing personal and financial information. Criminals can make these calls themselves and talk directly with their victims, or use prerecorded messages.

To avoid falling for a vishing scam, don’t answer unknown calls and never give out personal information over the phone, even if it does appear to be from an organization you trust. Scammers can manipulate the names and phone numbers that appear on your caller ID. If someone calls and claims to be from a company you trust, tell them you’ll call them back. Research the organization, and find its contact information on the official website. For more ways to avoid vishing scams, click here.

Fake check scams
It’s not always people requesting money; in fact, sometimes the scammers will send you a check. In fake check scams, criminals will request that you send a portion of the money to someone else: potentially even to a place or person you recognize. After sending legitimate money, you try to deposit or cash the check or money order only to determine it is counterfeit. These checks often look legitimate, even to bank employees.

Fake check scams can appear in many forms, from notices claiming to be from the government or charitable foundations to payment for something you’re selling online that is much higher than the item is worth. In general, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If something seems suspicious, contact the bank directly. 

ATM fraud
It’s important to keep your physical safety in mind when you’re using an ATM. When you’re approaching the ATM, have your card handy and be ready to complete the transaction. Always keep an eye out for anyone or anything near the machine that strikes you as unusual, like a person lingering near the area, getting too close, or looking over your shoulder.

You should also check out the machine itself for card skimmers. ATM skimming is a tactic in which criminals install a skimmer device in the machine’s card reader. As you insert your card, the skimmer picks up and saves the information stored there. To access your PIN, cameras may be installed in the area or a phony keyboard may be put on top of the original. Survey the machine before inserting your debit card, and do your best to look for these hard-to-see, hidden devices. If you feel uncomfortable, just cancel the transaction and walk away.

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